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Leslie rotating speaker
Old 21st July 2018
Gear Maniac

Leslie rotating speaker

Are there any current manufacturers making Leslie rotating speaker cabs that sound as good as the vintage Leslie cabs? How hard/expensive is it to maintain a Leslie-type speaker? It would be used exclusively in my studio, not moved around for live performances.

I’d like to get one for use with my Korg CX3 organ (the digital modeling one) and also occasionally for guitar. Thanks in advance for any advice.
Old 21st July 2018
Gear Maniac

Looks like whoever owns Hammond now has been making new ones.

Leslie | Hammond USA
Old 22nd July 2018
Lives for gear
foldback's Avatar
I went on a 3.5 year quest for Leslie 147 tone, I tried several new Leslie units of various sizes. New combo Leslie speakers use a servo controlled speed mechanism rather than the traditional 2-motor setup for high and low speeds. I could not get an accurate answer about how the new Leslie 147 model rotating elements are driven and I could not find combo preamps for them.

Finally after reviewing a lot of ads I found a 147 on Craigs List, it was in Orlando so I drove up there and bought it. The speaker system came with the brown control cable but I had to buy a combo preamp off eBay, I found a cherry one for $300.

I tried an alternate power amplifier to drive the speakers for a while but went back to the stock amp using the Leslie combo preamp.

If you're handy at all you can maintain an older Leslie, they're built like tanks and there's a strong aftermarket for repair parts. I've retubed mine, oiled the bearings (use the correct oil) and it's working fantastic. All-in I've invested under $2K to get the holy grail of organ speaker tone, it makes my Hammond XK3 sound so much better than any emulation ever does. The Leslie cranked up in a big room has that magic, worth the effort in my opinion.

Good luck and good music to you!
Old 22nd July 2018
Gear Guru
Drumsound's Avatar
Motion Sound is still around.
Old 23rd July 2018
Lives for gear
vernier's Avatar
Fender Vibratone's show up once in a while ..worth keeping an eye out for.
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
string6theory's Avatar
Originally Posted by 29CountsNY View Post
Looks like whoever owns Hammond now has been making new ones.

Leslie | Hammond USA
This. (I happened to be searching GS for “Leslie”, thus the necro. I don’t think many people even know Hammond/Leslie is still kicking strong - as the same company!)

Hammond/Suzuki owns Leslie and they’re still making all the classic favorites.

I went with the new (smaller, but still pretty damn big) Leslie 3300RW (RW stands for Red Walnut and it looks great) with an A3 Heritage System (like an A100) and the rig sounds killer.

The new Hammonds (XK-5, etc) have a new sample and modeled tonewheel system called MTS-1 (no more VASE) and realistic multi-contact keyboard built in-house. Quite amazing.
Old 4 weeks ago
Lives for gear
foldback's Avatar
I finally got all the technical details sorted on my 1971 Leslie 147 which is connected to the matching combo preamp. This is my fifth Leslie speaker system in the 53 years I've been playing music and so far it's my personal favorite.

I mainly use the 147 for guitar in the studio, I love the bass from the 15" speaker and big speaker cabinet. I have a Hammond xk3 which sounds great through the 147. I also play an EHX B9 module through the Leslie, sounds killer when I do it right.

I notice that most Leslie simulations spin too fast on the high speed compared to the real thing.

The Leslie is such a sweet organic machine, I love the sound especially when it's in the process of slowing down, that transition is so magical sounding.

The current remakes are not copies of the old ones in spite of the marketing and the look. The mechanism that controls the speed of the rotors is a servo motor system instead of a stacked pair of motors. I tried to love the new remakes but they just don't sound the same, it's like comparing a simulator to the real thing. I found simulations like the Rotosphere could produce rotary speaker tones that were better than none but the vintage Leslie system is still my personal favorite.

All in I have a hair over $2400 invested in my 1971 Leslie 147. I use it almost every day along with six other amplifiers to record guitar-scapes. I had to acquire the correct preamp for it and I had to retube the power amplifier but that's the extent of repairs, otherwise it's stock. Surprisingly low residual noise too, overall one of my best amplifier investments.

Good luck and good music to all!
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